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Spacious, refined, comfortable and great value

Our Verdict

Hyundai i30
Korea shows that the Kia Cee’d wasn’t just a stroke of luck

Can the second-generation Hyundai i30 challenge for class honours?

What is it?

It’s the first Hyundai i30 Estate in the UK, a right-hook 1.6-litre CRDi Style with less than 200 miles on the clock. And we were the first journos to drive it.

Making a good small wagon these days takes more than a bit of extra glass and a cargo net. The new Hyundai i30 Estate proves that. On the outside, every panel from the B-pillar backwards is new, and that’s because the car’s got a longer wheelbase than the standard hatchback as well as a longer rear overhang.

It’s also got a bigger rear cabin than the five-door, and a bigger boot. A six foot passenger can comfortably sit behind a similar sized driver in this i30, without so much as brushing his knees against the seat back in front, and rear headroom is as good as that of a car from the class above.

There’s 415 litres of boot space with the rear seats up, but with them folded this car will accommodate 1395-litres of stuff; which is more than the last BMW 3-series Touring, in case you were wondering.

What’s it like?

The i30 Estate’s engine range is a little narrower than that of the standard hatchback. We drove the 113bhp 1.6-litre turbodiesel. It was refined, frugal, and yet punchy enough to shift the car’s heft without being worked overly hard. Matched to a set of spring and dampers tuned more for comfort than out-and-out road-holding, it makes this car feel like a very willing, capable, grown-up means of family transport.

It’s no less manoeuvrable for the extra length between the front and rear wheels (the top-spec Premium version comes with parking sensors for those worried about the extra bulk out back). If anything, it feels a little more stable and refined than the standard hatch, but hardly less agile.

And though both steering wheel and pedals feel a bit woollier and less precise than they would in a Ford Focus wagon or VW Golf, you can’t fault Hyundai’s levels of material quality or fit-and-finish.

Should I buy one?

Yes, for all sorts of reasons, but the best of them is price. A similarly-engined Ford Focus Estate costs more than £17,000; this car, with its automatic headlights, tyre pressure monitors, leather steering wheel – and five year warranty – is just £14,695.

That’s even better value when you consider that it buys a car that’s as roomy, refined, comfortable, punchy, well-built and easy-to-live-with as anything made by the mainstream volume car-makers.

Hyundai’s challenge has never been greater to those established European car-makers. The standard i30 extended that challenge; this more versatile version of the breed underlines it. And pretty soon, nobody – not even the likes of BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz – will be able to ignore it.

Join the debate

Comments
9

27 March 2008

I hope this Hyundai wasn't driven on any public highways, with it's illegally spaced letters on the registration plate!!!

29 March 2008

Why do some manufacturers extend the wheelbase on their estate versions so that there is more rear legroom than the hatch or saloon variants?! What's wrong giving these other bodystyles the same extra few inches.

30 March 2008

[quote Roy Fullee]

Why do some manufacturers extend the wheelbase on their estate versions so that there is more rear legroom than the hatch or saloon variants?! What's wrong giving these other bodystyles the same extra few inches.

[/quote]

You will probably find it is all down to proportions, and making the car look balanced as a design. The happy side effect is they get a larger load space and better leg room. All the better to sell your estate as the "most spacious car in its class"!

 

 

It's all about the twisties........

27 March 2009

I'm seriously considering one of these to replace my Impreza at the end of the year. The only problem is deciding whether to go for the petrol or diesel. Optioned with cruise control and alloys, it will set me back £10,500 or £11,700 for the diesel.

27 March 2009

Sounds like a seriously good car, even before you factor in its seriously good price. At this rate, a future British PM will be being ferried about in a Hyundai.

10 May 2009

I thought I was going mad - I bought one in January 09 having sold my beloved Mk4 Golf which I'd had for 9 years. The reasons that swung my decision were:

- Extra wheelbase giving great legroom in rear for teenage kids (a real squash in the VW)

- Good deal - I paid £11,800 for the i30 Estate 1.6CRDi Comfort with Metallic and Cruise.

- 5 year unlimited mileage warranty (I currently do 750 miles a week, on average)

- Performance of the engine, and chain cam design reducing long term service costs

- Economy figures looked better on paper than my Golf 1.9 TDI (90)

- Insurance Group 5 - still low enough to include my kids as named drivers.

6 months and 5,000 miles on am I happy I made the right decision? Yes and no. Firstly the good bits. The engine performance has lived up to expectations, the 1.6CRDi being incredibly smooth, powerful and a quiet motorway cruiser. The seats are comfortable for long distances, although the seat could do with going a fraction lower (I was getting back ache from the Golf Mk 4, even though it had "sports" seats). I've got an indicated 53MPG on the trip computer over the first 5,000 miles. I emphasise indicated, because there is a problem with accuracy. The car is well specified, with electric folding mirrors, a stereo that sounds good, and the luggage area gives all the flexibility I need and more. Now the bad bids

Speedo over-reads by 8%, this means the fuel economy claimed on the trip computer is also 8% optimistic. However, now its run in I can cruise all day at a true 70MPH and get 53MPG verified by brim-to-brim fill ups. Models higher up in the range have larger wheels with (slightly) larger rolling circumference, which would make this less of a problem.

Gearing. Firstly, the box is about as far removed as it can be from rifle bolt "joy to use" experience I took for granted with my old golf, and other cars in my family (Seat and Mazda). Difficulty engaging reverse when cold is a common problem, and the box is lumpy, especially 1st to 2nd. My daughters find this a problem still, but I've just about got used to it now. What I haven't got used to is the gear ratios. The engine could really use an extra gear, or a taller top ratio. At true 70MPH you're engine is turning over at 2,800 rpm. A taller top ratio bringing the RPM down to 2,300 at 70 would optimise economy without sacrificing flexibility.

There is a problem with engine flexibility at the bottom end. Below 1500 RPM, you really have to change down. (Unlike the Golf TDI which would happily chug along and still have torque at 1,000RPM). This wouldn't be a problem if the gear ratios had been better selected, however: 4th is just too high for driving at 30MPH and 5th is just too high for driving at 40MPH. This means that you end up in town driving using 3rd and 4th in 30 and 40 areas respectively, which impacts real economy. My youngest daughter has just started to learn to drive in this, and really struggles with the gearbox and gearing. I really wish I had kept the old golf for her now.

Faults so far include: Rattling tailgate (fixed under warranty at the supplying dealer), Unreliable fuel filler release and intermittent problems with the cruise control. If you switch the engine off, then re-start quickly, the cruise will be disabled until you next re-start. I also had one problem using the resume function on cruise when it forgot the last setting (50MPH in roadworks) and tried to accelerate up to 70.

Obviously paying this sort of money, you don't expect the same fit and finish as a VW. Press reviews mention the plastics are "scratchy", and parts like the door pockets are flimsy. But nothing's broken (yet) and you learn to live without damped springing on your glovebox and gas assisted bonnet stays etc.

I also bought a fixed price service plan. £37 a month for the first 6 services. I haven't used it yet, but I am tied to using the same dealer on this scheme. I'll have to see how it goes.

So overall, was this a good decision ? Time will tell.My heart would have preferred a Golf Mk6, but it wouldn't have had the space and practicality of the Hyundai, and I would have had to shell out a lot more to acquire one.

10 May 2009

Thanks for that, it gives a great insight into a car that I am seriously considering for my next 'work horse'. [quote M1 Commuter]learn to live without damped springing on your glovebox and gas assisted bonnet stays etc. [/quote] Small necessities I can live with out!

10 May 2009

M1, many for thanks for the comprehensive and detailed "first hand" experience of running of an i30 estate. Very useful to read.

Just a couple of questions:

- how does it compare to the mk5 Golf you had in terms of ride/handling? and

- how comprehensive is the 5 year Hyundai warranty?

15 June 2009

I've now done 8,000 miles in the Hyundai estate, and the gearbox is getting slightly less notchy but going into 2nd can still be tricky, especially when cold. Its still on the factory oil, which I haven't had to top up yet (a nice change to VW's PD engines which typically drink up to a litre of oil between 10k services). Filling up with diesel happens every 550-600 miles, so usually bettering 50mpg on motorway work.

In terms of handling, the i30 estate has a longer wheelbase and higher body than the hatch, so I don't throw it round corners quite as enthusiastically as the old Golf which was a hatchback. Ride quality is about on a par with the MK4 Golf. The handling won't be as good as a MK5 golf though (which has superior multi-link rear suspension set up) but is still very good. The spring and damper setup on the estate is a nice balance, firm without being too harsh. In comparing with a Golf Estate, its worth mentioning that VWs have the same wheelbase and hence rear leg room as the hatchback equivalents, wheareas the i30 uses the longer wheelbase to provide more rear leg room.

I have had one more fault develop, although I think its actually been there from new - that of roll back on hand brake. Apparently the i30 has both disk and drum brakes at the rear - the foot brake stops you on the discs, so when the handbrake engages there is a small amount of play, which results in rolling back a couple of inches (or forwards, if facing downhill). This seems to be a design fault, according to the forums, but I'm going to take it in to be looked at, along with the fuel filler release which has got even more in intermittent of late.

In terms of Warranty, I haven't really had to test it in anger yet, but I'm told Hyundai covers more things on the i30 than Kia do on its sister car, the C'eed. The latter has a 7 year warranty, limited to 100,000 miles. According to the forums, regular servicing (12,500 intervals) with proof that the correct oils were used is essential to any engine related claim on Hyundai warranty. Corrosion of the alloy wheels is said to be a regular warranty claim. Not surprising, as Hyundai wheels are manufactured by the same OEM as Mazda's, and I've just had a full set replaced under warranty on my MX5 Mk3.

Hyundai also recently reduced the inclusive RAC cover on their new cars to 1 year (it used to be 3). I guess they have to cut corners somewhere.

Finally, the only other (very) minor niggle I've discovered is that the automatic boot light, linked to opening the tailgate, can't be separately disabled. Hence, if you don't shut the boot properly, you could end up flattening the battery......

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